For today’s post, the Frugal Monster (AKA Jack The Dreamer’s Frugal AF alter ego) is here to show you some fun & frugal tips for Earth Day.
Because the more we physically “consume,” the more we “waste” and vice versa.
These frugal tips are meant to help you lessen consumption of Earth’s resources and your hard earned dollars, without crimping your style (too much).
And so I don’t get too pedantic and tell you how you should live your life, I’m going to show you what I’m doing to be more frugal yet Earth-Conscious on Earth Day.
Without further adieu, let’s get started.
1. Air Dry Your Clothes
I use a clothes drying rack to hang my clothes instead of the drying machine.
You can check out the 3-tier drying rack I use here.
Pros of Air Dying Your Clothes
You Save On Electricity Cost
But does air drying really save you that much money?
The Balance Everyday estimates that the average household spends about $100/year on electricity to run their dryer (at an average of 24 loads a month).
I only do laundry about once a week, so my numbers will look different from your numbers.
Just to make sure, I looked for a second opinion on these numbers and found that Trent, from The Simple Dollar personal finance blog, estimated every load of clothes he hangs up saves him approximately 36 cents.
Using the former’s estimate of 24 loads/month, for 12 months that’s about $100. So the numbers hold.
I understand that $100 might not sound like a lot of money but you can use the savings to pay down debts and invest toward financial independence.
Isn’t a dollar in the hand worth two in the bush?
Not only are you saving money, you’re using less electricity.
That’s less energy that has to be produced for your consumption, thus helping reduce the use of natural resources.
Hashtag Earth Day.
Your Clothes Last Longer
She said, “Air Drying is more gentle on my clothing, so they aren’t getting ‘worn out’ as quickly as if I’d used a clothes dryer all the time.”
Sarah brings up a good point.
Air drying your clothes can help prolong their life span because it’s more gentle than a drying machine.
Not to mention, this website has a good point when they mention the high heat from the drying machine can fade, shrink, and break down the elastic fibers in your clothes.
Do you notice pulling out lint balls or lint sheets from the dryer chute? Those are fibers coming from your clothes!
If your clothes last longer, you might be more inclined to buy less clothing.
You consume fewer materials from the Earth simply because the things you have last longer.
This is good for the Earth and good for your wallet.
Cons of Air Drying Your Clothes
I’m lucky to live in a house where it’s dry enough in the winter for my clothes to dry indoors by the sun through the window.
Damp House/Mold Problems
If you live in a humid/damp house, air drying your clothes might not be ideal.
From the Frugal Minimalist Facebook group, some people commented that air drying in their house created mold problems from the clothes’ dampness released into the air.
Some remedied this situation by using fans to circulate air around their clothes while drying.
Some hung up their clothes in the driest part of their house, e.g., the bathroom or a hallway.
So it doesn’t have to be by a sunlit window if you don’t have access to one.
“Crunchy” & Stiff Clothes
One issue that stopped some of the frugal minimalists from air drying their clothes is that they don’t enjoy the feel of stiff clothes.
I never thought about this issue because I don’t mind the feeling, but to some, it’s a deal breaker.
So I looked up some ways to fix the stiff problem and here are a few I’ve tried and haven’t tried:
I’ve personally started using less detergent in the wash and started shaking and fluffing up my clothes before air drying them.
I felt like using vinegar, while my clothes would be softer, would have contributed to wasteful expenditures that were anathema to my Frugalist sensibilities.
So far, using less detergent and fluffing up my clothes before air drying them has helped to create less stiff clothes FTW.
2. Take Public Transportation
I’m lucky in that I currently don’t have to drive to work.
I understand some of you live in locations that require a car to get anywhere, so situations differ.
From chatting in the Frugal Minimalists Facebook group, I also noticed that some people prefer paying for a car to drive one hour to and from work instead of a two-hour bus commute each way.
In that case, enjoyment of time saved from car driving is greater than the cost of car ownership, e.g., gas, insurance, maintenance.
Joy from time saved > Cost of car ownership
Pros Of Taking Public Transportation
I don’t want to get too much into the nitty gritty of public transportation but you can read more about it from this Quora post.
Save on Gas = Cleaner Air
I’ve noticed one pro of not driving a car is I don’t have to pay for gas.
Not only does this reduces the amount of pollutants I’m releasing into the air, I’m also saving money by using other alternatives.
I’m lucky to live in a suburb where everything is within a 30-40 minute walk.
If you live in a place where there is no public transportation and the nearest grocery store is an hour’s drive, and it would take you the whole day to walk there and back, then having a car makes sense for your livelihood.
I now carpool to work.
This increases my interactions with people instead of driving a car by myself.
While I initially didn’t like this at first because I was so used to driving solo for years, I eventually warmed up to it after a few weeks and relish in the freedom of other people driving me places.
Cons of Public Transportation
What I miss about having a car is the freedom to drive anywhere anytime I wanted.
Now, I have to see what the train times are, and what the carpool schedule looks like.
I sometimes feel like I’m at the whim of the car owner and whether or not there’s a delay on the train, etc.
If I could sum it up, it feels like I’m less independent and less mobile because I don’t have a car.
But when I look at the money I’m saving by not paying for gas, repairs, maintenance like oil changes and inspections, it’s worth it so far.
Conclusion On Frugalism For Earth Day
Just as there are 2 sides to a coin, there are pros and cons to the life decisions we make.
As a KonMari minimalist, I try to make sure that whatever frugal choices I make resonate in accordance with my values for a cleaner, healthier, and more joyful world, one where we not only consume less, but we consume smarter and waste less.
And while this list can go on for just a little longer, I’d rather you stop reading this and go out there and enjoy some fresh air and all the beauty that Earth has to offer!
Thank you for reading,
Jack The Dreamer
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